On her debut CD, "Love You Madly," she sings 11 evergreens by Duke Ellington and his assorted collaborators. The choice of material is evidence of Dennison’s good taste, but she’s also smart enough to approach the songs in a straight-ahead, understated manner.
Dennison knows that the songs are great, and she knows better than to mess with a good thing.
"Love You Madly" arrives years after Dennison first started performing. She put her career on hold in the 1970s to raise a family and then a surgery left her unable to sing. She, however, still felt the desire to sing, and not long ago worked her way back to performing in clubs around Portland, Ore.
Dennison doesn’t have a big voice, but it bursts with good cheer. Her enthusiasm can be heard throughout the easy-listening album and is one of her best assets.
The mood of the CD is set with the title song, which opens the album. Dennison’s snappy delivery works well. You can practically see her winking as she sings a line that may sum up the long road she took in making the CD, "Good things come to those who wait so I’ll relax and wait for fate..." The song also gives her band plenty of room to get into the act.
She is backed on the CD by Darrell Grant on piano, Mel Brown on drums, Andre St. James on bass and Dave Evans on sax.
Other highlights include "I’m Beginning To See The Light" and "Don’t Get Around Much Anymore," both delivered in a gentle, easy-going style. Less successful is Dennison’s version of "It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)," where she seems to lose her relaxed style and sounds as if she is forcing the number.
Overall, "Love You Madly" is a charming CD.